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Administrative Leave Means You're Already Gone - Urban Meyer Edition...

Well, I heard some people talkin' just the other day
And they said you were gonna put me on a shelf
But let me tell you I got some news for you
And you'll soon find out it's true...

-"Already Gone" by the Eagles


I think I've written about people being put on administrative leave before - but I'm reminded of it on the news that Ohio State put football coach Urban Meyer on Paid Administrative Leave this week.  Meyer is currently looking at the kitchen walls at home as his phone blows up, based the school announcing it is investigating Courtney Smith's claims that several people close to Meyer knew of a 2015 allegation of domestic violence against her ex-husband, former Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith, who was fired in July.

This post isn't about college football.  It's about the use of Administrative Leave, usually of the paid variety.

Paid Administrative Leave means the following things:

1--Whatever you're accused of is too damn hot to allow you to remain in the workplace.

2--Your employer believes that you likely did enough (or didn't do enough for leadership positions) on the issue in question to warrant your eventual termination.

3--Administrative Leave is a form of action your employer can point to as taking action while they actually investigate what happened on the issue in question.


Got it? Great.  Let's dig into #4 above a bit.  It's a tough pill to swallow for some.


Your employer put you out because they believed there was a high probability your investigation would end in a termination.

But for every day you are out, your career expertise and power, as well as your ability to return to your job, decreases in a dramatic way.  That stinks. It's like a game of Fortnite where you have a power level for an individual.  You're getting whacked hard every day you are out, and the players in the game all see your power level after a week of being out and determine it's only a matter of time before you're out of the game.  This perception makes it hard for you to survive and come back off of paid administrative leave.

That stinks because sometimes you're innocent.  The good news for most people who will read this is that their process would be nowhere near as public as Urban Meyer.

If you're confronted with an allegation, do what you can to avoid being placed on leave.  Offer to take vacation, personal days and generally get out of the way.  Avoid the tag of Administrative Leave if you can.

Oh yeah, be sure to take action on people who do bad things and shouldn't be part of the company.  Don't protect people you like who do stupid things.  Don't do stupid things.  These are all viable options to avoid administrative leave.


Sanjay Mehra

Its a worth shot, nice article. Keep contributing.

Buck Rodgers

Such a sweeping statement of an article - Way to broad of a topic to determine such a thing. Every situation and industry is different. In my industry (law enforcement) it’s mandatory after a big job to be placed on it so they can see if there is any wrong doing. Just protocol- you cannot be present while there Investorgating the issue. That’s all. If your wrong in any way, well that’s on you. If not, 3 days and your back at it :)


Placed in admin leave and was told that I did nothing wrong. Don't get it but since I'm retiring in 2-1/2 months, it's like getting free vacation. After 27 years, yep, the admin leave tag stinks.


I reported to the Ethics Line because another employee made a threat to me under her breath, threw her dreds in my face and made other comments under her breath when management was (and once was) not present. Afterwards, my employer called me into a meeting and put me on a 15-day paid administrative leave. I am on the leave as I sit here typing this comment.

Bobbie Carroll

placed on Administrative leave after being rated highly qualify for a position on my team by the manager. Allegations were made that I falsify my resume. not true. Allegations made that I were not accessing an OPM system when I annotated my case activity log. I am thinking about putting in for Retirement. What should I do file an EEO complaint or just go ahead and retire?


just a fancy word for being fired. They can't fire you right away because you might sue them for wrongful termination, so to cover their behinds they put you in limbo and conduct a sham "investigation" and the result is always the same - you're FIRED.


So even if the allegations are false and they put you on Admin Leave, there is no chance they will bring you back??? so this is pretty much a delayed in termination... that really sucks - can you still take legal action?? I don't think it's fair that they don't listen to your side of the story.....

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